Indoor Cycling Drills Using RPMs

Indoor Cycling Drills Using RPMs

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Indoor cycling drills can improve your fitness and technique.

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Most cyclists dread the winter months when they are forced to move inside and train on a stationary bike or trainer. But if you do the right indoor cycling drills, focused on your revolutions per minute (rpm), you can not only get fitter and faster, but you can also pass the time more happily until the warm weather returns and you can get back on the road again.

At-Ease Intervals

Cycling coach Andy Applegate recommends short, hard intervals when cycling indoors. He notes that indoor cycling drills are harder than the same drills done outdoors because of the added friction, or resistance, of the stationary trainer. He suggests doing four one-minute intervals of pedaling at a high rpm in an easy gear, at about 50 percent of your maximum effort. Follow each interval with a two-minute interval of easy pedaling.

Smooth it Out

When cycling indoors using rpms, it's important to avoid pedaling so fast that you start bouncing in the seat. If you feel that happening, or if you feel your hips rocking back and forth in the saddle, reduce your rpms until your pedaling is more fluid.

The Spin Cycle

One indoor cycling drill that helps increase your cadence is called the spin-up. After a warm-up, begin cycling in an easy gear at 70 rpms. Increase your rpms by five each minute until you feel yourself bouncing in the saddle, then back off to a cadence where you're stable again and hold that for one minute. Then steadily drop your cadence by 5 rpms each minute until you return to 70 rpms.

Feeling Fluid

Spin-up drills teach you to pedal more efficiently and can help you find your optimum cadence. They can also help you balance out your pedal stroke by teaching both legs to apply an equal amount of force, leading to increased speed when you return to the road or trail.

Fluid and Fast

A variation of the spin-up drill is one where you steadily increase the resistance while maintaining high rpms. Start out in an easy gear at as high a cadence as you can comfortably manage. Each minute, increase the resistance and continue for four minutes, then reduce the resistance for a recovery period. When you've recovered, repeat the process, trying to maintain fluid movements without dropping your rpms.

The One-Legged Pedal

Another indoor cycling drill using rpms is single-leg pedaling. Rest one foot on a chair next to your indoor trainer and pedal with your other leg. Maintain a smooth motion while aiming for the highest rpm you can reach and try to maintain that cadence for 30 seconds. Then switch legs. Keep switching legs, increasing the pedaling interval up to four minutes per leg. This drill helps eliminate weak spots in your pedal motion and can make you faster and smoother on the roads.


  1. Zephan

    Agree, a useful piece

  2. Saber

    As a matter of fact, I thought so, that's what everyone is talking about. Hmm it should be like this

  3. Gaston

    It's interesting. Give Where can I find more information on this topic?

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